Jamal Denman

Recent Articles

MN immigrant plans U.S.’s first Somali museum

 

 

By Jamal Denman

Contributing Writer

 

On Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16 there will be a benefit held at Lincoln International High School in South Minneapolis to increase awareness of and support for a Somali Artifact and Culture Museum. The concept for the museum comes from the mind of Osman Ali, a local businessman and Somalia native who has been living in the Twin Cities with his family for more than 17 years. The museum will be the first to showcase Somali culture and artifacts outside of Mogadishu (which is no longer in operation), and the only one of its kind in the United States and the world. Ali’s arrival and subsequent settling in the United States might be considered a twist of fate, as he initially did not intend to come to America, much less make his home here. He actually was living in Dubai for years, where he said he had a good life, before coming to Minnesota. Continue Reading →

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S.W.I.M. grows out of what youth are asking for

 
Mentoring program responds to lack of structured activities for youth
 
News Analysis

By Jamal Denman

Contributing Writer

 

For many generations, people in the United States have been persistently fed a skewed view of the history of this country and the people who populate it. Stories intended to be accepted as accurate accounts of the past are commonly disseminated to the masses through the public and private educational systems, as well as various print, television, radio, and web media outlets. A large number of these institutions, wittingly or otherwise, simultaneously project stereotypical images of various cultures when it comes to the depiction of non-Whites and cultures not considered “traditionally American.” Those images are often negative or unflattering at best. Due in large part to the history of Black people’s experience in the United States, these practices can be detrimental to the psychological and social development of African American youth trying to figure out who they are and what their value is to the world as human beings. These are some key reasons why Thomas Berry decided to develop a youth program which gives young people opportunities to learn about history, culture, and develop a sense of pride in themselves. Continue Reading →

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Local youth join international poets to hone Brave New Voices

 
Tish Jones cultivates next generation of MN spoken word artists
 

 

By Jamal Denman

Contributing Writer

 

Almost every practitioner of creative art, regardless of the discipline, will be quick to point out that they are motivated to do what they do for very personal reasons. One’s affinity for a particular art form is often connected to at least one emotional, enlightening, and/or life-changing experience. This is especially true for those who are into poetry and spoken word, art forms that give a voice and a medium of expression to many who feel that they otherwise would not be heard. These aspects of spoken word and poetry are what attracted artist and educator Tish Jones. They are what motivate her to create spaces for people — youth in particular — to discover the art of spoken word, as well as to develop and hone their skills and have opportunities to perform their work. Continue Reading →

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Minister celebrates his 105th birthday — Reverend Smith describes himself as a ‘late bloomer’

 

 

By Jamal Denman

Contributing Writer

 

On Saturday, January 19, Wayman AME Church in North Minneapolis played host to a glorious event that celebrated the 105th birthday of Reverend Noah Spencer Smith. The church was filled with many people of all ages who Smith has touched over the years. After Reverend Smith was escorted into the building, a welcoming speech was delivered by Reverend Marchelle Hallman, which was followed by a prayer by Reverend William Smith and a reading of scripture by Reverend Joseph Baring, Jr.

Reverend Smith was then seated alongside his wife, Dr. Hallie Hendrieth-Smith, and literally crowned as the audience gave him a standing ovation. A musical tribute was paid to Reverend Smith by a talented young lady by the name of Jada Stumon, who sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” which was described as one of his favorite songs. The Wayman AME Steppers for Christ put on a spirited stepping performance in tribute to Reverend Smith, who looked genuinely touched by the tributes, even standing up and applauding after the performances. Continue Reading →

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Entrepreneur turns fetish into business opportunity

 
Divas in Motion brings unique shoe styles to Twin Cities
 
By Jamal Denman

Contributing Writer

 

Divas in Motion is a small, intimate boutique located on the corner of 60th Street and Nicollet Avenue in South Minneapolis. It specializes in offering unique, one-of-a-kind women’s footwear that is not likely to be found anywhere else in the state. Divas in Motion offers limited quantities of fashionable flats, heels, wedges and boots, as well as a warm and friendly atmosphere for every customer they serve.The concept for Divas in Motion came from 29-year-old owner and entrepreneur Tashawna Williams. Williams earned a B.A. in psychology from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater, where she also played basketball and became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. The Minneapolis native — who is also the youngest of five siblings — returned to her hometown and became a teacher and mentor. Although she liked the fact that she was teaching and working with youth, Williams still felt like something was missing in her professional life. Continue Reading →

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Deconstructing the school-to-prison pipeline

Volunteers seek alternatives to locking up kids
 

By Jamal Denman

Contributing Writer

Save the Kids is an all-volunteer national organization that started in New York in 2009. Most of the people involved have been personally impacted by the criminal justice system through themselves or close friends or family members being incarcerated as juveniles or as parents and caregivers of young children. The core objective of Save the Kids is to promote alternative methods of dealing with youth who are in trouble or have made poor decisions rather than just locking them up and giving them criminal records. “We believe that no kid, no matter what they did, should be incarcerated,” says Anthony Nocella, a visiting professor at Hamline University’s School of Education and its Faculty Center for Excellence in Urban Teaching. “There’s better community alternatives that can be employed rather than incarcerating kids.”

Nocella introduced Save the Kids to the Twin Cities area and started working with local community activists, educators, and others concerned with the well-being of young people to put together events at universities, high schools, and community centers spreading the word about Save the Kids and getting more people involved. Continue Reading →

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Local company teaches financial lessons not taught in school

 

By Jamal Denman

Contributing Writer

 

Most people, including those who did well in school and are college educated, go through life giving little thought to their personal credit score. Even less time is spent on monitoring, managing, or figuring out how to improve one’s credit rating. The only time many of us do so much as inquire about our credit score is when we are in the process of making a large purchase or attempting to establish a line of credit. For those of us who do not have a high enough credit score, the chances of being approved are slim to none, and the process of figuring out and addressing what is having a negative effect on your credit score can be rather time consuming. Classes on personal credit management are not required in high school or even college. Continue Reading →

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Change the world — help a child learn to read

 

 

Reading Corps offers a chance  to really serve the community
 

By Jamal Denman

Contributing Writer

 

When it comes to ranking the importance of the vast range of human skill sets, it would be difficult to place many above the ability to read. Learning opportunities are infinitely increased for those who have strong reading and comprehension capabilities, and the earlier one begins to learn and develop these skills, the more likely one is to become highly proficient at them. Unfortunately, reading and being able to understand what is being read in its most basic form is not something you develop naturally. They are skills that have to be taught and learned from one individual to another. This is what makes the service that Minnesota Reading Corps provides so important. Continue Reading →

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Beauty Exxtreme showcases full figures in fashion

 

 

 
Local company puts plus-size women, big-and-tall men on the runway
 

 

By Jamal Denman

Contributing Writer

 

In American media and advertising outlets everywhere, there are images of tall, freakishly thin, fair-skinned women that are intended to represent the ideal model of beauty all females are constantly told in one way or another they should strive to emulate. Most people do not fit the description of the model that is often presented. People come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and shades; even those that can be described as tall, thin and fair-skinned usually look nothing like the professionally styled and digitally enhanced images seen on screen and in print media. This current situation is the reason why Nena McAlister started Beauty Exxtreme, a company dedicated to promoting alternate versions of beauty standards and building the self-esteem of those who are rarely represented or recognized in media, advertising or fashion. While McAlister wants to help promote everyone who feels underrepresented by the media and fashion industries, her focus is on plus-size women and big and tall men. Continue Reading →

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